26 October 2015

Gorsebank Glamping: A Review

This past weekend I went Glamping! We chose to go to Gorsebank which is near Dalbeattie on the Scottish Solway Coast.  We've been before but this time we took a bunch of friends and glammed it up a bit in one of the bothies!

We booked Bothy Number 1 which sleeps six.  This is a large old barn building split into two.  The bothy next door sleeps up to ten (but we don't have that many friends! lol!).

The booking process was easy enough, with a great website and full info there.  You simply check the availability and book online and pay a deposit to secure your required dates.  When you arrive you will also pay a £50 pre authorisation on your credit card, but that's just a deposit and you get that back, provided you leave the bothy as you found it!

For 2 nights in mid season the bothy cost us £220, but when you divide that by 6, it is only £36 each which is bargain tastic for a weekend away.

You can pay for extras too to make your trip extra 'glam', there is a hot tub for each bothy that can be hired for £69 for two nights and also a gas BBQ for hire for £12.  We also paid extra for the firewood (being October!!) and that was £7 for a large basket that kept us toasty for the entire weekend.

We actually didn't go for the hot tub this time which was super sad.  You can leave booking the hot tub until just a few days before.  The hot tub and outside area is for private use of bothy only, so nobody else would be in it!  But we were cautious and decided to see what the weather was going to do first.  The forecast for the weekend was torrential rain (typical!) so we didn't book it.

The weather was actually not that bad for our weekend, nothing like the forecast, so I was a little sad as I would have liked some hot tub time.

I was very impressed with the bothy and the campsite facilities.  It is a lovely small campsite and is mostly families or people coming for the biking (more on that later!) and it is really quiet.  It is on farm land and is family run.  There are animals everywhere, lots of horses, there are fishing ponds, Herdwicke sheep and of course the farm cat! As it is a working farm you are not permitted to bring your dog with you.

There is a small tent pitch and camping pods, tepees and timber tents for hire too if you want a cheaper option or you are a smaller party.

Inside the bothy was brilliant! The most well equipped bothy I have ever stayed in!  It had everything you could possibly want and was very comfortable and clean.

Mark got straight to work with his favorite job, getting the fire started.  The fire is essential this time of year as this is what heats the bothy.  It did a fantastic job we were too warm most of the time, and the bedroom upstairs was very toasty.

There are 2 comfortable sofas and even a TV! I don't approve of the TV when camping so we tried to not use it too much.  If you are going for a camping adventure with friends it should be 'different' to staying at home... but then again if you are staying for a week with kids the TV might be a god thing!

We did however bring the Wii, which we thought was a better idea so that we could all play together and be social.  We had a competitive game of Mario Kart!

The kitchen literally has everything you need! Small and basic, but very clean.  All you need to bring is food!

I always bring with me when any type of camping, a tea towel, washing up sponges, liquid and some sort of antibac spray. Lots of these kind of places provide these, but better to be safe than sorry!

We had easy frozen pizza the first night and then my friend Emma made a delicious veggie curry for our second night, yum!

I loved how light and bright the barn was, they have done a super job converting this.  I've stayed in places before where the stairs are very steep and pokey, but these are the opposite, as you can see!

Upstairs is just one large bedroom to sleep six.  There are 2 double beds and a bunk bed, so it is probably best to pick a group of people who know each other well!

Couldn't fault the bedroom, beds comfortable and large enough and it was very clean.  The pipe from the fire goes up through the bedroom and at one point in the night it was too warm, so heating shouldn't be an issue.  They also put in 2 electric heaters in the bedroom and there is a rail for clothes.

When glamping I usually bring a duvet instead of a sleeping bag, I find sleeping bags uncomfortable.  It is perfectly acceptable to bring lots of cosy things to make your stay as comfortable as possible.  We all brought blankets and slippers too!

Also good idea to bring a sheet to put on the bed, this bedroom had sheets but some places I have been to don't provide them and have horrid plastic mattresses.

I guess what makes this 'camping' and a 'bothy' rather than a cottage is the fact that there are no toilet facilities in the same building! All campsite users share the main campsite facilities in a separate purpose built barn.  There are 4 female toilets and 4 male and 2 showers each too, with lockable doors.

The toilet block is central and lit up throughout the night so easy to get to, it is also heated!  The shower is fantastic! The hottest most powerful shower I have had for a while.  The toilet block is kept very clean but of course it is a wooden barn, so there are insects and it is basic.

So what is there to do during the day?

Well biking of course! We love this campsite because you leave the farm through the track and you are right on the 7 Stanes Dalbeattie mountain biking trail.  Mark and I love biking and have done many of the local trail centres but friends Pam and Emma have never tried it, Pam even admitted to not being on a bike in 20 years!  So we 'convinced' them to give it a go.

You can hire decent mountain bikes at Gorsebank, they cost £17 for 4 hours for an adult bile with helmet, this is adequate time to get round blue route if you are a beginner or red for the more advanced.

Above photo is before and underneath is after... all made it in one piece, still smiling!

We did the blue route which is the entry level mountain biking route and 14 km long, it took us a couple of hours to complete.  the trail is mostly fire road with some big climbs and a few bits of more interesting single track. I would have liked the ladies to experience something more technical, and the fire roads went on for a bit, but they seemed to enjoy it!

Mark and I did red route the following day and that is a huge contrast to blue.  There are no massive ups or downs, but it is very very technical and rocky! If I am honest it is not my kind of trail, probably my least favorite so far of the 7 Stanes we have tried.  But any kind of biking is always fun for me!

Another idea for daytime activities is a trip to nearby Kippford.  We have Dalbeattie itself a miss after driving through in the eway there it didn;t look massively interesting.  Kippford on the other hand is stunning.  A tiny harbour village with lovely scenic coastline and beautiful houses and cottages.  There is also a little gift shop, restaurant and pub.

There is a lovely walk along the shore and onto Rockcliffe, the next little place along.  The interesting thing about Kippford is the beach, it is made entirely of shells! Very odd experience walking on them, you feel a bit sad when you hear the crunching sound!

Marky wondering if it is a wise idea to walk out to that island in low tide (probably not NO!!!)

Friends Em and Pam enjoying looking for rock pools and crabs on the beach.

So to conclude I highly highly recommend Gorsebank, I really love it here.  If you are new to camping it is the perfect place to go.  With no toilet facilities inside the bothy it does make it more of an adventure and more like camping than renting a cottage.  It is a fab budget friendly place to go for a weekend away with loads to do on site and in the area.

Where are your favourite places to go camping and glamping?

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